Wednesday, December 20, 2006

6 week ultrasound

Today I had another ultrasound and got to see a teeny tiny speck inside the sac:

I thought I saw a little flicker when the doctor was moving the wand around, but he didn't see it. I know it's really early to see anything, but I was still hoping. :) He said everything looks great - my ovaries are almost back to a normal size and it seems the danger of getting OHSS again has passed. I'm going back next week for another ultrasound and if we see the heartbeat, I'll be released to my OBGYN. He told me I'll graduate and shook my hand. I wanted to hug him.

I was feeling pretty good until yesterday - just tired and bloated. I'm embarrassed to admit that I had to buy a pair of maternity jeans. I didn't want to do this, in large part because I'm superstitious, but I had no choice. I'm blaming it on the OHSS bloat that stuck around. I tried on a zillion pairs of pants in a larger size, but they looked ridiculous. I'm also starting to get bouts of nausea. I can't complain, though. I don't think I've ever felt so content. All of this continues to feel like a dream.

It's strange to think that my next ultrasound will fall on the one year anniversary of my FIL's death. I've thought a lot about him during this whole process. I know that he's with us in spirit but I wish he could be here for our good news. After his death there was so much sadness and chaos. It's hard to believe that one year later so many positive things have happened. My FIL was the kind of person who could strike a bargain with anyone and make them feel like they were getting the better deal even if they weren't. We sometimes joke that he's negotiating deals for us even now. It doesn't feel like a joke these days.

I haven't felt like writing or much of anything the last few weeks...I hope that changes soon. Happy holidays to everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yet another update

It's been a long time since I've posted. I've been so tired and grumpy. We both caught a coughing cold at the same time and kept each other up at night, miserable. Lots of cough drops and a humidifier have helped a lot and we are now catching up on a lot of missed sleep. Today is the first day I've felt close to normal.

On Saturday we told our parents. I called my Mom pretending to be interested in the free flight she recently earned, asking her how she did it, how long it took to get the miles, etc. Then I asked her how she'd like to use that trip sometime in August. She caught on right away and was so happy. My Dad was at work so I called him and he was also very happy. It's weird - our anniversary is August 5 and last year we went to Niagara Falls to celebrate. We took long walks and hoped that we'd have good news by the time our next anniversary came around. At that point we hadn't even seen our RE yet, though we did have the appointment set up. Even though the months between diagnosis and IVF seemed interminable, when I remind myself where we were in August it seems like almost no time at all.

We went to B's Mom's apartment for dinner as we often do on Saturday. I took a picture of my digital HPT with the embryo picture in the background and printed a copy. We bought a Hanukkah card and put the picture inside. When she opened it she looked shocked. She wanted to know if we were sure, and I told her I had the beta early. Much shrieking, hugging, and tearing up followed. Then she called everyone who knows about the IVF to share the news.

Yesterday I had my OHSS monitoring appointment. My ovaries are still enlarged, but he said they're slowly going down. The pain I still feel when moving a certain way or walking too much is normal. The fluid inside my abdominal cavity is also going away. He was pleased with my progress. Then he took a look at my uterus:

The small dot in the middle of the image is our little embryo. So far it looks like there's one hanging out in there. It was totally amazing to see that little spot on the screen. So amazing, in fact, that I did something a little sneaky. After he left the room so I could get dressed, I noticed the image was still on the screen. I also saw the print button. Since you're looking at the image, you can guess what I did. How could I not?

When the nurse called me back with my bloodwork results, I asked her what my beta numbers were. On Friday (11dp5dt or 16 dpo) it was 65. Yesterday (16dp5dt or 21 dpo) it was 704. She said they are rising perfectly. I also continue to have normal hematocrit, another sign that the OHSS might stay away. Please, please, please!

B surprised me last night when he admitted to me that he wanted it to be twins. I had no idea he felt that way. We had a good talk about our feelings and it was the first time we really talked with the idea that this might just work. We're both big worriers, though I am the optimist in our relationship. I'm glad we were able to share some of our thoughts with each other.

My next appointment will be next Wednesday at 6 weeks. Still early to see a heartbeat, but that doesn't stop me from hoping anyway. I thought that I would be glad when the 2ww was over, and I am. But there's still a lot of waiting and hoping going on.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's official

My doctor just called to tell me that I'm pregnant. I didn't realize how hard it would be to type the "p" word. I even went back and deleted it a few times and tried to reword the sentence. It's hard to just let go of my fears and worries about what could happen. It's also hard to accept that what I've wanted for so long might actually be a possibility now. I'm not really a relaxed person when it comes to IF. Right now I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy each day as it comes without worrying too much about the next day. Easier said than done, of course.

I told B on Wednesday night. I handed him the last test and he just looked at me.

"What's this?"
"Two lines."
" is lighter than the other!"

After I explained that a line is a line (it's easy to explain that to someone else, but not so easy to accept) he gave me the sweetest smile. He didn't want to get too excited until the bloodtest came back, but he gave me a lot of smiles that night, some when he thought I wasn't looking. He's one of the most pessimistic people I know, so I know he's even more worried than me. We're going to have to work on the relaxing thing together.

I also told my sister. I promised her back when we started TTC that she would be the second person I told. So when she answered the phone, that's what I said: "I told you you'd be the second person!" She has been such a source of strength and support to me during the whole IF process. I was so happy to give her the news.

Now we have a little time to relish the news before we tell our parents. See, everyone thinks my bloodtest is on Monday. When they switched it to Friday, I didn't tell anyone but B. Our families have done so much for us during IVF. It's been wonderful to turn to them when we're nervous or scared. But this also means that they know the timing of everything. They're waiting for Monday as impatiently as I was. Now that we have the news sooner, we can surprise them. It's not exactly like we planned when we started TTC, but it's something. The plan is to call my parents tomorrow and tell B's Mom when we see her tomorrow for dinner. We always wanted to tell the family who had to hear it over the phone first, and we're sticking with that plan.

I go back on Wednesday for OHSS monitoring. My doctor said there's no signs that the OHSS is coming back, but they want to be vigilant. Maybe I'll even get a sneak peek at what's going on in my uterus. :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006



Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

- Emily Dickinson

Yes, I have a degree in English Lit. I've loved Emily Dickinson since I first read her poetry in junior high. This poem came to my mind after this morning when I took another test and saw a line almost immediately. I used a different test - the generic Rite Aid brand. It was either that or another AccuClear and I wanted something else. Isn't that typical - I've spent so long wishing for a positive test, but when I get one (or two) I think that the test must be defective. Even now I want to go on a HPT spree to put my mind at ease, but I know that even 100 positive tests won't completely calm me down. I was a worrier before IF, and I can't say that IF has improved my situation.

I thought today's test might be positive because last night I started having the weird pains I had when I started developing OHSS. When I rolled onto my side to sleep, I had a sore muscle kind of feeling that eventually prevented me from sleeping on my side at all. I'm also a little more bloated this morning after losing most of my water weight. I have some cramping and a tiny bit of brown spotting. And everything makes me want to cry.

I know that there are still many things we have to get through...Friday's bloodtest and the first few weeks among them. But for now I just feel a sense of amazement. I can't wait for B to come home. I haven't told him about any of my tests because I know he doesn't like me testing at all. I don't know what I'm going to say. Maybe I'll just hand him the tests.

Thanks to all of you out there who put up with my obsessive whining the last few days. I know it must have been annoying, but writing down my thoughts and fears helps relax my mind a little bit. I really appreciate your thoughts and support.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The saga continues

I tested yesterday with a brand new AccuClear. I managed to wait about four hours before producing my sample. I put the test on the sink and took a quick shower. When I got out, I immediately saw a line. I've only seen a second line on an HPT when I was being silly and tested after my trigger shot.

Then I realized that test results aren't valid after 10 minutes. I don't know how much I believe this because I've thrown away stark white tests and come across them days later and they were still white. And my trigger-test is the same color now as it was when it registered positive. My shower was very quick, but I started thinking "Well, maybe I was in there 11 minutes!" So I decided to test again today.

After several minutes, I had another line. It was faint, but not something I had to squint to see. Again, I worry because the test says you get results in three minutes, but to disregard results visible after ten. This was visible in less than ten, but probably not in three. I decided to try a gave me a definitive "Not Pregnant". As far as I know, both of these tests have the same sensitivity.

I don't know what to do. I went in for another appointment yesterday and had more bloodwork done. When the phlebotomist was labeling my vials, I thought I saw that the bloodwork order was testing HCGQ and PROG as well as my hematocrit. When I heard back from the IVF nurse, she said my results were normal and that I should come in Friday for one last checkup because my doctor wants to make sure I'm still doing well before the weekend...and that I should have my beta done at that point instead of on Monday. Are they worried that my OHSS might come back because I had a positive bloodtest? Or do they see that there's no hope for me and want to put me out of my misery a few days earlier? Did I imagine that I saw that on the order?

So I guess I'm still in limbo for now. It's 8dp5dt and I feel like I would have a line by now if it worked. I'm going to have to get another brand of test sometime today and get ready to repeat all of this tomorrow.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Stark White

I gave into temptation this morning and tested at 6dp5dt. Nothing. Not even a hint of a line. Not even a line that could only be seen in super bright light when held at a weird angle.

I admit that the testing conditions weren't ideal. The only test I could find expired 8/06. A little time spent with Google revealed that this wasn't a good idea. It seems like expired tests give false negatives and positives. I've purchased two brand new tests for the future. I also didn't have a very good sample. I know that concentrated FMU is best, but that wasn't possible. I have to drink a lot of water to combat the OHSS bloating and have been visiting the bathroom every hour. While this has helped me lose 8 pounds of water weight, it isn't ideal for testing. And yes, 6dp5dt is still early. I would never have tested 11 DPO in a non-IVF cycle. Despite these rationalizations, I just feel down about my chances. I don't have any feelings or symptoms that can't be explained by the PIO or OHSS.

In other related news, I continue to recover from the OHSS. I saw my doctor on Friday and learned I had gained an amazing 20 pounds. Assuming 5 pounds of that can be attributed to my less than wonderful eating habits while on stims, that's 15 pounds of water. Most of that showed up in only a few hours. My bloodwork came back normal and I am going back tomorrow for another checkup. He wants to keep a close watch on me, especially if I'm pregnant. I have to say that OHSS is very cruel to a person in the 2ww. No matter what I wear, I look about 6 months along. This glimpse of what could be burns. We skipped a family gathering today because it would be hard to explain my new bulge and I just wasn't up to dealing with happy pregnant people even though I care about them. This isn't how I usually deal with life, but I just need to look out for myself right now.

I think I might test again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Feeling better

Thanks for all of your good wishes! I am slowly feeling better. Almost all of the nausea is gone and I've been able to eat solid food. Right now I'm just working on staying hydrated and getting rid of some of the bloat. I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow afternoon to see how I'm doing.

I wanted to finally post a picture of our little embryos.

I've looked at the picture countless times and it still amazes me. All of my fingers are crossed. My beta is scheduled for 12/11, but there's no way I'll be able to not test before then. I hope this works!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Things were going so well with us during this IVF cycle. I felt like everything that I wanted to happen (good fertilization, 5 day transfer, good quality embryos) actually happened. I noticed that I wasn't feeling well on Monday before the transfer, but I thought it was nerves combined with the side effects of the PIO shots. By Monday night, I couldn't keep anything down and my stomach started to swell like a balloon. We went to the emergency room where I was hooked up to an IV and given anti-nausea medication while we waited for a sonogram. My doctor is associated with the hospital and it was he that gave me the news - I was experiencing severe OHSS and he was admitting me to the hospital.

I can't even explain how suddenly this came on. I was still sore and a bit bloated after the retrieval, but it wasn't getting any worse. I thought the pain was lasting so long because of the number of follicles I had. Then came the nausea, pain, and vomiting. I weighed myself before all of this happened and when they weighed me last night at the hospital I had gained 10 pounds. I was up another 2 this morning. They watched me all day and gave me constant IV hydration while monitoring my output. I also had to take blood thinners because whatever numbers they were looking at were very off. I was happily released this evening and feel a lot better. I'm still incredibly bloated but most of the nausea is gone. My doctor wants to see me back on Friday.

I was so happy with my doctor. Even though he works for the hospital where I was staying, his office is in another building. He came to check on me multiple times even when the doctor on call had already seen me. He reassured me that this isn't going to cause my cycle to fail, but he did warn me that if I get pregnant I will likely experience this again. It was nice to see a familiar face and to hear from my own doctor who knew exactly what was going on.

So for now I have to rest and drink a lot of liquids. I hope to eat some solid food tonight. I'm pretty humbled by this whole experience, though - it reminded me not to take anything for granted. I'm hoping that the little embryos decide to stick it out despite the rough start.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Transfer complete

Just a quick note before B kicks me off the computer to enforce the doctor's bedrest policy. Our transfer was today at 12:00. We transferred two beautiful blasts, one already hatching. Of the 9 that fertilized, 8 made it to day 5...that means we were able to freeze six. Our doctor said we're in a great place and have excellent chances.

I hope to post the picture they gave us as soon as my bedrest is over. For now, I think I need the rest. I'm still pretty sore and bloated from the retrieval. And I'm not letting the picture out of my sight. :)

Thanks as always for your good thoughts!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


We received a call yesterday afternoon. It was the same nurse and she had that same edge to her voice as she did in the message. But the news was happy - she said our embryos look "excellent" and they are almost certain our transfer will be on Monday. We had to stay "on call" this morning until the embryologist and doctor reviewed their growth on day 3. I just got the call...our transfer will be Monday. The nurse didn't know what time yet because they're still figuring out the schedule, but she wanted to call me because she knew how much I needed to know. That made me so happy.

Thanks again for all of the good wishes - my family is here from California and I don't have as much time to post as I would like, but I hope to keep updating as we go.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


We got a call from the clinic...9 of our eggs fertilized. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the phone in time and they had to leave a message. The nurse said that 9 fertilized but she couldn't say much else. I really, really hope that this means that she didn't want to leave a detailed message on what could be a public machine. I've listened to the message several times and I think it sounds positive...I mean, how much can they tell me one day after retrieval other than that we have fertilization? I tried to call back even though the message said they were closing early for Thanksgiving. Do you think they would be annoyed if I called the emergency line for more information? :)

She said to call back tomorrow at 11 for instructions regarding Saturday and the transfer. I hope that they will set us up with an appointment on Saturday that they cancel in favor of a 5 day transfer on Monday. I feel like I'm asking too much and not being appreciative enough, but I don't have to explain how much I want this to work. I know that this is the one place I'm completely understood.

Thanks again to everyone for their good wishes. They mean more to me than I can say. I'm very sore and bloated, but still hanging in there. I'll try and post another update tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So far, so good

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me good thoughts and used their wishes on me. It's amazing how wonderful this community has been.

Everything went smoothly today. The medicine kicked in very fast and I woke up with the doctor telling me they had retrieved 15 eggs. I'm not sure how many follicles there were or if all of those eggs were mature because I was too woozy to ask. I did learn that they asked B to produce another sample while I was under. The lab tech told him some men are asked to produce three. I'm trying not to worry about that...they also froze a sample before this process started so there's always a backup. I mean, all we need are 15 good sperm, right? We'll get the fertilization report tomorrow. If we get to transfer, it will be Saturday or (their preference) Monday.

So far I'm okay. We went right out to breakfast and I had delicious challah french toast and orange juice. Everyone thought it was funny that I wanted to go out as soon as they released me. It tasted so good. After I'd been home for a few hours the pain medication wore off. I'm walking like a 90 year old right now, but it's bearable. I've been drinking and monitoring my output. It hurts to use the bathroom, but I have had to go. I'm really hoping that all of your good wishes are the good luck charm I need to prove my doctor wrong!

I'm going to try and post an update tomorrow after we have our fertilization report.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fingers crossed

It's never a good sign when your doctor takes a look at the ultrasound screen and says, "Oh, boy."

That's what happened to me this morning. I expressed how nervous I am because every single doctor who has examined me has made some comment about my response. It makes me feel like a spectacle. This led to a discussion about OHSS. Back when we had our first IVF consult, he said that most patients have a mild version, but 1% have a more severe form. He's concerned about my chances. He told me what to look for and when to come in for medical attention. He also warned me that there's a chance my transfer will be cancelled, any embryos we have will be frozen, and we'll have a FET instead.

So right now I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to steer clear. I can't even wrap my mind around the idea of cancelling the transfer. I know that if that happens it will be for the best from a medical standpoint, but it will be hard emotionally. So much of this process involves worrying about unknowns.

I did take comfort in the last instruction on my list for the retrieval. "For your comfort, it is advised that you bring a warm pair of socks with you for the procedure." I've got that one covered!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Road cleared

Mel posted an entry today about a wishing stone. My MIL told me she's been doing the "come down estrogen dance" all day and hoping for good news. And right after I made my wish and read my MIL's email, the clinic called. My E2 has come down and I can take half the trigger shot tonight. My retrieval is scheduled for 9:30 on Wednesday.

I can't even explain how happy and relieved I am. I started to feel a little hopeful when I woke up this morning feeling clearheaded. Yesterday I felt like I feel when I take cold medicine - dizzy, tired, and blah. The doctor told me this morning that my E2 levels have been consistently going up which would explain why I started feeling bad Saturday night through yesterday. He said he's staying hopeful and that my follicles are "gorgeous". I hoped that he wasn't just saying that to make me feel better. I continue to feel better and now I can let go (a little) of the worry I was feeling. I am hoping that this is for real!

Tomorrow I have a 7:00 a.m. appointment (yawn!) for one last round of bloodwork and an ultrasound. They're going to give me all the information for Wednesday. I'm ready for these follicles to come out!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Everything was going as planned until yesterday afternoon. My retrieval was estimated for tomorrow or Tuesday. I was so excited! I couldn't wait to take the next step in this process. But then came the E2 levels took a jump and were too high to take the HCG shot. I was instructed to stop the stims and come back today for another check. This afternoon they let me know they are still too high and I have to go back tomorrow for another appointment.

It's hard not to let this get me down. Honestly, I feel like throwing myself down on the floor and having a tantrum. I've been through a lot to get to this point and it scares me to think my cycle could be cancelled. No one is using the "c" word yet, and it's better financially to cancel at this point than after retrieval, but I truly didn't realize how much I've invested emotionally in this process until now. On top of this, I really feel like crap - it hurts when I walk and I am exhausted. I've been to the clinic every morning since last Sunday for bloodwork and my arms have taken a beating. And there's the little voice in my head (the devil on my shoulder, maybe) that tells me all of this might have been for nothing. Except to illustrate how extremely sensitive I am to stims and to teach me a lesson about getting my hopes up.

So right now I'm just waiting. I'm not sure how much longer they're going to let me wait. The follicles they measured today were 20-22mm. My ovaries are so distended that they're "kissing" when you look at the ultrasound. I'm just trying to hope that the same sensitivity I show when it comes to stims will work the other way and let me be just as responsive in their absence. If that doesn't happen, I guess we're back at the beginning again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The finish line is in sight...

At today's appointment, the doctor greeted me with, "So you're the patient with all the eggs!" He said that my age has been a big benefit to me in this process. I know my clinic treats many older women, so I'm hoping that I'm just producing more eggs than they usually see and am not weird or something. He measured several follicles today that were 17-18mm. They like to see follicles at 20mm before retrieval, so we're getting closer. He estimates my retrieval will be Monday or maybe Tuesday. Right now they're working on balancing follicle growth with keeping my E2 at a good level. Going for bloodwork and ultrasounds every day isn't the most enjoyable thing in the world, but I'm glad they're making sure everything is okay.

As he was leaving the room, he did something very surprising - he gave me a hug. This was the first time I've ever met this doctor, though I've seen him around many times. His hugging me was completely unexpected but somehow just what I needed. So much of this process is scientific and was nice to be reminded that these doctors are real people who care about their patients.

This weekend I plan on taking it easy. Tomorrow I want to indulge myself a little with a trip to my favorite New York coffee place, Gimme. Then I want to go to the Union Square Greenmarket and stop at Max Brenner for some of the best hot chocolate ever. My favorite is the Italian dark chocolate - it's absolutely delicious. They take thick dark chocolate and blend it with vanilla's amazing!

I'm also playing the the layout of this blog...I like this brown scheme. I named my blog "Bitter Ground" to reflect my bitterness about IF and my love of coffee. We'll see how this new template goes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More of the same

Not too much has changed since my last entry. I've been at the clinic every morning since Sunday for bloodwork and a sonogram. I got to see my doctor yesterday and he said I'm doing very well. The doctor I saw today said I'm responding "extremely well" and said I have many, many follicles. She advised me to stay hydrated and get a lot of rest. I just received my daily call and they want me to cut my Foll*istim in half to 25 units and come back tomorrow morning for another check.

I'm feeling more or less okay. I've been very tired the last few days - when B comes home from the gym I'm asleep and I can't seem to make it past 10:00. Today I'm really feeling my ovaries for the first time when I walk. I feel kind of like a duck because I'm walking funny to avoid jostling them. Is it normal to feel this way after only six days of stims? I don't know, but I'm trying to take it easy.

I have to say how much I appreciate another person in my life - my sister. She calls me every day to see how I'm doing and just generally cheers me up. She also helped me deal with a stressful situation - my parents are coming from California for Thanksgiving and they'll likely be here during our transfer. My Mom wanted to stay home with me during my bedrest, something I didn't want. It's nothing against her, I just think I'm going to want to rest and relax. The only person I really want around if B. So my sister gently encouraged my parents to consider going out during the day and they agreed. We are only a very short train ride from NYC, so they should have plenty to do. Even though my sister has not had to deal with infertility, she's one of the few people that seems to really get what I'm feeling. She doesn't try to make it seem like she can ever really understand and never tells me what I'm feeling is wrong. Anyone dealing with IF knows how rare that can be.

I'll post again soon with another update - I'm sure it will be more of the same, but it's nice to record everything here so I don't forget. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lather, rinse and repeat

That's what came into my head when I received the phone call from the IVF nurse today. I went in yesterday for bloodwork and a sonogram. They called me and instructed me to reduce my Foll*istim from 150 to 50 units and come in today at 7:30 for more bloodwork and another sonogram. I just received today's call...same dose tonight and I'm back tomorrow morning at 8:30. I thought that I'd be monitored every other day, but I'd rather they err on the side of watching me too closely.

The wedding reception injection issue ended up not being an issue at all. The ceremony and reception were one hour apart in different locations. We ended up meeting at B's aunt's house (she lives about halfway between the two locations) before going to the reception because we were all starving. I was thus able to do the injections in their bathroom. So here's my little invention:

This is what I came up with to hold my Re*pronex syringe. I was worried that if I didn't protect it the plunger would get depressed in my purse. The Foll*istim pen case, where I was planning on storing the syringe, was too big to fit in my purse. We get lots of these BB&B coupons in the mail and they were perfect - it was like a little poster tube. I'll bet the people at BB&B never thought someone would use their coupon like this!

The Re*pronex injections continue to be painful. I tried sitting down last night while injecting (for some reason, I always stand when I do them) and I think that helped. I feel like I have a series of small bruises around my stomach area that make it hard for me to wear jeans. There aren't any welts, though. I've accepted that they're just going to hurt and I'm hanging in there.

I'd like to once again express my appreciation for my older SIL, the one who is currently pregnant. She asked me a lot of questions about how the IVF procedures are going and how I'm dealing with everything. I could tell that she was honestly interested and not just making small talk. It was so nice to have her bring it up and good to share. It made me feel more at ease asking her about how her pregnancy is going. I guess I just feel awkward - like I don't want her to think I'm trying to live through her, or that I'm just asking to be polite and not because I care. Let me stress that she has done nothing to make me feel this's really all about my own hangups. I felt like we built a little bridge of communication between the land of infertility and fertility. And talking about it just made it feel a little more normal.

And finally, here they are- my finished retrieval/transfer socks. I finished them last night. It was such an awesome feeling!

If any of you knit, the yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot in "Crazy Woman". You don't have to knit to see how appropriate the name of this colorway is. :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Not too bad...

Last night was my first night of stims. I was told to do the injections between 6-10 so I started preparing at 6. It was a bit more complicated than it looked when the nurse showed me what to do, but I managed to figure it out. I decided to start with the Re*pronex because I've read that it hurts the most. It was also a larger needle and a bigger injection. I'm all about getting things out of the way. The needle didn't really hurt, but the medicine burned and the area around the site ached. I also had some bleeding when I took the needle out. The Foll*istim was a breeze. The needle was even smaller than the one I use for Lu*pron and the injection didn't hurt at all. I think that I'll start with the Foll*istim from now on so I can do both injections on the same side. I couldn't pinch the skin after the first injection because it hurt too much.

Can you believe that it took me half an hour from start to finish? At least tonight I'll have the medication mixed and ready and won't have to sit in the bathroom for half an hour. I have this vision of a small bathroom and a long line of people wondering what exactly is taking me so long. I thought about doing it in the car (the ceremony and reception are in two separate areas) but we're bringing B's grandma to the reception.

I hope to post tomorrow about how it went and the results of my monitoring appointment. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cleared for takeoff

Today was my appointment for more bloodwork and another ultrasound. The doctor who did the ultrasound is actually the head of the clinic. When we got the certified check to pay for IVF, it was made out to him. He was very nice and very peppy. He said everything looks "excellent." Then I learned about the wonders of reconstituting Re*pronex and how to use the Foll*istim pen. The nurse asked me, "Have you done this before? Because you seem very calm about it." That made me laugh. After the lesson was over, I went home to wait for their phone call.

Starting tomorrow I will reduce my Lu*pron to 5 units. I'll be adding 1 vial of Re*pronex and 150 units of Foll*istim each night between 6:00-10:00. B starts antibiotics Sunday and I have an 8:30 appointment Sunday morning to see how things are going. So much for sleeping in! We have a wedding to attend on Saturday and I can't wait to shoot up in the bathroom. I like to joke that if someone walks in on me I'll start quite the scandal in the family. :)

I'm feeling a lot better today. It seems like I have insomnia for a few days, just long enough to put me completely on edge. Then I get a good night of sleep and feel a lot better. I hope that reducing the Lu*pron will reduce the insomnia. It's really frustrating to be tired but not sleepy. I'm almost done with my second retrieval/transfer sock and hope to post pictures of them soon.

Another hurdle has been passed...I hope things keep going this smoothly.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A spectrum of emotions

I don't remember exactly when B gave me this little bear. I know we were maybe 6 months into TTC and it was once again CD1. I had a stressful day at work and classes that night. He picked me up from school and gave the bear to me "because I know you're sad and stressed and I love you." So now I have the bear right next to my alarm clock so I can see it every morning. I've certainly needed some sunshine the last few days.

The weekend and yesterday were really hard for me. On Sunday we had the unveiling of the headstone for my FIL. If you're not familiar with this, it's a Jewish custom that some time after the death of a loved one you get close friends and family back together for a small service where the headstone is officially presented. I can't believe that it's been almost a year since my FIL passed away. It was so unexpected and hard and unfair. He was an amazing person and we all miss him so much. And even though it makes me feel selfish for thinking about myself during the ceremony, it made me reflect on the last year. At the shiva last December, the cantor (a close friend of my FIL) actually came up to me, touched my stomach, and said, "Soon. You need to give the family something happy to look forward to." There was nothing I wanted more at that point than to do that. I had a 17 day luteal phase that cycle, the longest ever. I know it was because of stress and grief, but we didn't know yet about the MFI and I still had so much hope. As soon as the cantor (the same one) started singing on Sunday, it brought everything back.

We managed to make it through the ceremony. At the end, we all poured rosewater on the grave (a Sephardic/Middle Eastern custom...B's father's family is Iranian) to sweeten the earth and placed flowers. When I placed mine, I told him that I'm doing everything I can to have a baby and asked him for his blessing. I told him I'm doing my best to support B and his family as we grieve. I wish I could convey to everyone what a wonderful grandfather he would have been. All of the things that make B so amazing to me are a reflection of his parents. You know how we look at the pregnant drug addicted prostitute and rage that she can have a baby? I think about the horrible people out there right now alive and well and rage that my FIL is no longer with us. It's just so completely unfair.

I don't know if it was my sadness or because of my period arriving, but I started having hot and cold flashes that day. They left me tired and jumpy. After a horrible night of sleep I spent yesterday on edge. I was sad and angry and really annoyed at every little thing. After I was able to calm down, I realized part of why I was upset: I still haven't been able to get pregnant. We're going through an IVF cycle right now, and I still might not be pregnant when we're done. I've tried really hard to take this process one step at a time, but yesterday I was overwhelmed by the fear that this might not work. A year from now I might still be reflecting on all we've lost and everything we've been through and might still be childless. And that thought just infuriates me.

In the end, B helped me feel better. He talked to me, cooked me dinner, and did all kinds of cute things to show me he's worried about me. My next appointment is on Thursday. If all goes well, I'll start the stims that night. I'm trying to learn to balance this lurking fear with positive thinking and hope. When I do my meditation and focus on the "smiling ancestors" surrounding me, I can feel my FIL and other lost loved ones near me. I'm holding tight to that feeling. I hope it will help me get through this.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

My new theory

First, thanks to everyone who left me comments after my last entry. I was pretty whiney, and your thoughts and good wishes made me feel a lot better!

So here's my latest theory. My last entry complained about the shots and the side effects of the Lu*pron. The last two days have been so much better! The needle has gone in easily like before with no pain. While I still feel like I have a dark fog in my head, my energy has increased and I actually got some good sleep last night. Blogging about my problem made it better!

With that in mind, I'd like to complain that my period is late. Isn't the irony delicious? Any other month I'd be praying for a late period. Now, we all know that the best way to get your period is to take a HPT. But there's no way that I am pregnant and I don't have any HPT's anyway. I know that Lu*pron can cause a delayed period. Hello, uterus? Can we hurry things up, please? There's no sense in delaying the inevitable. I already feel crampy and bloated. I'm ready for the next step here, I just need you to cooperate!

(I just had a thought...if blogging about the shots made them better, I hope that blogging about them being better doesn't make them worse!)

Here's hoping that CD1 comes soon.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Yes, that's my pumpkin. I decided I wanted to carve one this year and roast the seeds. I like how when the candle flickers it really does seem to wink at you. I felt like such a kid sitting in my kitchen carving last night.

I'm feeling pretty crappy lately. For one thing, the injections are getting harder to do. I don't know if it's normal or even possible to build up scar tissue from only a week of injections, but I'm having a hard time getting the needle to go in. When it does go in, it hurts a lot. I've been alternating sides but that doesn't seem to make a difference. Won't it be fun when I have to do multiple injections each day?

And then the side effects. Here's how they work for me. I wake up after a sleepless night feeling okay. I do the injection. A few hours later I feel like I have a dark fog flowing through my brain. All I want to do is sit on the couch. Absolutely no energy. My energy comes back right as I'm trying to sleep, making my sleep very restless. It's not much fun.

I'm trying to stay positive and focus on good things. It's almost CD1 again and that means we're getting closer to the next phase of our cycle. Once the stims start, I think time is going to fly by. I hope the side effects dissipate, but I'm not holding my breath. We'll see!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Be Aware

I read Mel's latest post reminding us that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week and encouraging us to do something to create awareness and reach out to others with IF.

Her post made me think about how community has changed my struggle with IF. I remember reading different infertility message boards and wanting something deeper. People would come, post a question, get a response, and leave. You often didn't know how their cycle turned out or if the information they received helped them. So I did a search for infertility blogs, and quickly found Mel's site and the wonderful list of bloggers she maintains. Reading the experiences of real people made me feel less alone. Getting caught up in people's situations and rooting for people I didn't really know gave me a positive focus for my restless IF energy. Before too long, I decided to start a blog of my own. And it might sound cheesy, but starting this blog has really changed my life.

I didn't really expect any comments, but I had some within minutes of my first post. When Mel added me to her blog list, I felt like I was joining an important an meaningful group. I can't even express how much everyone's comments mean to me. It amazed me that people would send so many positive thought my way...people who knew exactly how I felt. While I appreciate every single good wish given to me by those who haven't had to deal with IF, it gave me such a sense of warmth to be heard by someone with their own battle scars. Meanwhile, my blog is a great source of stress relief. When bad things happen, I know that I can come to this safe space, record my true feelings, and figure out how to deal with them. I engage in meditation almost every day, and have learned the importance of deep, calming breaths. I feel like this blog is just another kind of deep breathing.

So this week I'm going to think about how I can continue to reach out to others. I already proudly wear my pomegranate bracelet. Maybe I will print out little information cards, attach a string, and leave them at my clinic. I'm going to find new blogs to read and make sure I leave comments for the people I feel I've grown close to. I'll search out petitions to sign that will legislate infertility coverage for everyone. I think it might be time to write my congress people again.

So who's with me?

Friday, October 27, 2006


I've managed to avoid the hot flashes and mood swings that 10% of women experience while taking Lu*pron. I'm just completely exhausted. I feel fine until about noon and then my energy takes a dive. I'm also feeling rather moody, but that might just be PMS.

So to lighten up my mood, I'd like to mention a few things that have made me happy today.

1. I went to the store for some acorn squash. I have been having crazy cravings for winter squash for the last week. While I was standing in line to pay, the older woman behind me asked me how to cook them. She said, "You just look so nice and thin that I thought maybe I should eat them, too!" Okay, I've gained about 5 pounds from stress eating and bloating. I feel miserable about it. She totally made my day.

2. When I got home, I had a small package from my Mom. She sent me an encouraging card telling me to hang in there and enclosed a pair of Halloween socks. They have little smiling candy corns on them. I love crazy socks, and I love them even more now that I have the chance to show them off while up in the stirrups. How's that for making a small loss of dignity into something happy?

3. I made a major mistake on the heel of the sock that I'm knitting. Apparently I'm not doing so well with reading comprehension right now. I had to rip out two days worth of work. This might not sound like good news...but I was able to pick up the correct number of stitches and can now proceed. I'm really bad at ripping stuff out, so this was a relief. I think I'll finish them in time.

4. Finally...I ordered Stephen King's latest book and it arrived yesterday. I cannot wait to curl up and relax tonight!

I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mmmmm, coffee!

Thanks to Mel for directing me to this little quiz. I find it funny that my coffee drink of choice reflects my personality!

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

When I got married, here's something I never thought I'd say: "Honey, leave my biohazardous waste alone!" This was me joking with B about the sharps container in our bathroom. He always makes fun of me for the different bottles I need to get ready. This is a bottle he never thought he'd see!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

That wasn't so bad!

"Subcutaneous injection" sounds like such a scary term, but I learned this morning that it's not that bad. The needle is very small and thin - I honestly didn't feel it going in at all. The medication burned a little and the injection site itched for about 10 minutes, but that was that. What I'm left with is a huge sense of accomplishment - I injected myself! I keep waiting for all of this to feel real. I thought maybe it would happen at my trial transfer, or when we signed the forms, or even when we paid the bill. This morning was as close as I've come to realizing what we're doing. IVF seems like such a concrete thing, such a serious procedure, but it's really a series of small steps taken one day at a time.

B decided to tell his best friend what we're doing and why. They have been friends since preschool, but we only see he and his wife once every few months because we live in different states. His friend was very supportive and also knew a lot about IVF and egg donation. It was kind of creepy to have him suggest that I could sell my eggs and get $6000-$10000 for each one. I have no idea where he came up with that figure. I'm glad B continues to share with the people close to him. I told him he should start a blog to reach out to other men out there with MFI and to give the women some male perspective. After his initial "no way" he said he'd think about it. It might be tricky because he doesn't know about my blog, but I'd be willing to tell him if he wanted to start his own! We'll see if I can convince him.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Green light

This is my favorite picture of the leaves from this weekend. I'm a former California girl and the fall foliage was breathtaking. I'd seen pictures before, but the real thing was incredible. The festival was also great. There were so many people there! At one booth, you had to elbow your way to the yarn, quickly grab what you wanted, and then stand in a HUGE line. I sent B to wait in line while I did the elbow thing and he got to the register just as I made it out. It was perfect.

This was a much needed trip for both of us. I love all things yarn, and seeing so many different kinds and meeting the people who actually raise the animals and spin the yarn themselves was great. Completely immersing myself in the festival took my mind away from the stress and anxiety of IF and IVF. We enjoyed maple sugar cotton candy, fresh cider, and delicious apple pie. It was great to do something together that didn't involve yet another trip to the clinic. It was a small taste of how easy life used to be.

When we got home, we checked the mail and found a thick packet of information from the clinic containing detailed injection directions and the consent forms. Talk about a quick return to reality! B didn't want to think much about the "in case one of you dies" questions. We took them to the clinic this morning to sign them so they could witness the signing. A quick ultrasound (My doctor said my ovaries look "happy" which made me giggle) some bloodwork (I hope my veins can survive more than the few draws I've had so hurt!) payment for the cycle (gulp) and injection instructions (looks easy when they do it!) and I was home again. The clinic just called to tell me I am ready to start injections tomorrow.

I'm going to hold the images of the beautiful foliage in my mind and close to my heart. They're my new calming vision. I will do my meditations each day and work on my second retrieval/transfer sock. I'm going to get through this...those needles are just small pieces of metal that aren't going to get in my way. My MIL and Mom both commented today how proud they are of me and the strength I've shown so far. That surprised me because I don't feel particularly strong. But I'm going to believe them and keep their words in my mind tomorrow morning. There's no turning back now!

Friday, October 20, 2006

That's a lot of needles!

This is what $2000-$4000 dollars worth of IVF medication looks like. I don't know exactly how much they cost - that figure is based on what my clinic estimated. I'm blessed to have insurance that pays for IVF medication even though they don't cover the procedure, so I only had to pay $200 in co-pays. I have to say that I appreciate my clinic. They faxed over the paperwork to the pharmacy and I had the medication the next day. The pharmacy was also awesome, working around my schedule and showing up promptly. But man, there's a lot of needles! I opened the box of generic Lu*pron to see what it looked like and there were even more needles inside! I do feel very stylish with my new Foll*istim traveling case. I'm sure I'll be the envy of everyone.

So yesterday we had more bloodwork done and today was my physical, sonogram, and trial transfer. The trial transfer was quick and easy - it's pretty much an IUI without the specimen. My doctor confirmed that I have a tilted uterus and told me that 40 years ago women had surgery to "correct" what we now know is normal. Can you imagine?

I asked him three things: What does he think about caffeine consumption during IVF? He said that caffeine has been loosely linked to lower birth rate, but nothing is certain. If I can cut it out, that's good. If I need that cup in the morning, that's fine. I'm down to one cup a day and will work on decreasing that soon. Then I asked how much and what kind of exercise I can do. Until I start stims, anything is fine. Once they start, I can swim, ride a stationary bike, or take short walks. It all has to be low impact to avoid twisted ovaries. The thought of my ovaries twisting freaks me out! I think I'm going to freeze my gym membership in the next few weeks. Finally, I wanted to know about air travel in the event of a successful cycle. I want to go see my family at Christmas time. (I converted to Judaism 5-ish years ago, but I still want to spend Christmas with my family.) He couldn't give me a firm answer. Too many things could happen between now and then for that. I'm thus still on the fence about booking the flight.

And another observation - the people at the clinic are super nice to you when you're an IVF patient. They've always been nice, but today everyone was over the top. They have a list of patients going through treatment, and it's kind of weird how much they try and get you to laugh and relax. I liked it!

So next week the injections start. This weekend we're heading to Rhinebeck for the Sheep and Wool Festival. I plan on buying lots of beautiful yarn for myself and my sister. I'm looking forward to getting away with B on a mini-trip and just relaxing before the next stage of IVF. I hope everyone has a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Appreciation, tentative schedule, and a proud moment

I'm in a much better place today. I knew when I wrote my last post that time would help restore my sense of calm. But blogging about my feelings has been an amazing source of stress relief. It's really incredible - it's like throwing myself down on the ground and having a tantrum, but it's all in my mind. With that said, I'd like to say thanks to everyone who left comments. It means so much to me to know that I'm not alone and that people understand where I'm coming from. I really appreciate it!

I have some positive news today. I spoke with the IVF coordinator nurse and set up a series of appointments. Tomorrow we're going to have our HIV/hepatitis bloodtests. She was surprised that we hadn't had these done already, but the doctor said we'd have it done at the start of the cycle. On Friday I have a physical, sonogram, and trial transfer. Then on Monday I have another sonogram and bloodwork. If the bloodwork comes back okay, I'll start Lu*pron Tuesday. You know what this means, right? I'd better start working hard on my second sock!

And I also have to express how proud I am of B. He's been out at a client in another town with one of his coworkers. On the drive back to the office, the coworker started talking about a friend she feels sorry for because they've been TTC with no success and are preparing themselves for IVF. Instead of staying quiet, B told her he knew how the friend felt because we're going through it too. When the coworker started asking questions to find out what was wrong with me (one more of the IF stereotypes that drives me INSANE) B said, "It isn't an issue with my wife." That small statement is such a HUGE step for him. He's said all along that he doesn't care if people know about IVF, but he doesn't want to talk to them about his issues. I was amazed that he talked to her about this, and I really hope it's a sign of his coming to terms with the issue.

That's all for now!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Horrible day

Yesterday was the stuff of nightmares for me. This is going to be a long and complaining post, so bear with me.

We had another family gathering. Yes, family gatherings happen a lot with B's family - it's huge! On the ride over, my SIL mentioned the names they're considering for their baby. A little background: it's an Ashkenazi Jewish tradition to name a baby using the first letter of the name of someone who has passed away in your family. My husband is a "B" because his grandfather was a "B". My FIL passed away last year, so everyone is focused on "S" names. I understand that this limits the possibilities, but when the names they mentioned were the exact names we "chose" months ago, (since you can't really "choose" unless you're pregnant) I just felt...miserable. We've been trying since well before my FIL passed away. We had planned out how we'd tell my in-laws about our pregnancy. When he died, it was so hard to think about those plans. He would have been the most amazing grandfather. Picking a name that paid tribute to his memory became our next plan. And all of this planning happened before we even knew what was wrong. Yes, I do realize that there are other names out there. Maybe this even means that what we wanted wasn't meant to be. But it felt like one more reminder of what we're missing and what we might not ever have. It made me see that the deep wounds I have really haven't healed as much as I thought. Everything suddenly felt very raw.

Thus I was already shaken before we even got to the party. Once we were there, another person announced her pregnancy. She's not directly related to B's family, but she's at many family events. So once again everyone at the party was either pregnant or a mother. Everyone except me. All of the women were talking about the best places to shop for maternity clothes and what foods they couldn't eat. They shared tips on dealing with morning sickness. I ended up in another room watching football with B.

The afternoon continued on a downward spiral. It's a tradition at these gatherings for the first cousins and their spouses to do shots together. The first shot was dedicated to all of the successful fathers-to-be. Mind you, this followed another round of high fives and "Good job, buddy!" comments directed at the men who'd managed to get their wives pregnant. So poor B was left out again. And I'm not drinking during IVF. I know that some RE's say it's okay, but it's something I'm not willing to risk. So when the time came to do the shots, I said I couldn't and they kept insisting...when I refused again, it was like all eyes in the room focused on my stomach. Exactly what I needed at the moment.

It wasn't hard for me to find the time to think about my situation at the party because I really felt like I didn't belong. It made me start to wonder why it's so hard for me to talk to people about IF and IVF. If I had some other disease or illness, I know people would be concerned. They'd want to know how I was feeling and what kind of treatment I was receiving. No matter what stupid soap operas portray, IVF isn't exactly a quick and painless process. Not only does it involve some pretty complicated medical procedures, it follows months and months of continued disappointments as you try and try only to find yourself at CD1 again. The emotional toll it's taken on me is considerable. I feel an almost compulsive need to tell people what we're going through...but I don't know how. And do I really want them to know? If it doesn't work, I don't want to have to deal with telling them it failed. It's just such a mess right now.

On a positive note, my sister sent me flowers to cheer me up today. Totally unexpected and so needed. I'm going to spend some extra time with my meditations tonight and will hopefully be in a better place tomorrow. I just wish I didn't feel so blindsided and sad.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Two things I've learned

I have a pretty good grasp of the whole IVF process. I'm capable of explaining the details to anyone who asks. But there are two small things I've learned so far even though I'm only a little more than a week into my cycle.

Tylenol sucks. I'm one of those people who rarely take pain medication. In fact, B gets very worried when he sees me taking something. But the one time I rely on medicine comes each month with frustrating regularity. I need Motrin for cramps. Taking Tylenol barely takes the edge off and makes me an unhappy person. Sure, it says you can take it for menstrual cramps. Yeah, right.

Being told to "prevent" is hilarious. We were instructed to either abstain or prevent until after I start injectibles this month. I'll be ovulating before I start the drugs. This has turned into a big joke for some reason. We've been trying so hard for so long that preventing seems strange. My protocol doesn't include BCP's, but now I know how people who do take them for an IVF cycle must feel. I do have to say, though, that it's nice to have someone else in control of everything! And it's also nice that we've been able to laugh about something during this process.

That's all for now. I'm sure I'll learn more along the way.

And in the world of knitting: I finished my first sock and now I have to hurry to finish #2 if I'm going to wear them during retrieval and/or transfer!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Update

It's been a long time since my last post. My sister and niece came to visit from California for 10 days and I couldn't find time to write anything. We had so much fun. My BIL joined them for 4 days of the trip and it was great to hang out and do whatever we wanted. I saw them off this morning and am back in my suddenly silent apartment.

I hadn't seen my niece since she was two weeks old. She's almost five months now and I can't believe how much she changed. My sister is an absolutely amazing mom. Of course, having her here was sometimes and emotional challenge, especially when we got together with my pregnant SIL. She and my sister spent most of the time talking about pregnancy, making me feel so lonely. I felt like the rejected member of the club I want more than anything to join. My sister told me later how sorry she was and that was nice. I also know it meant a lot to my SIL to have someone to talk to. It just feels like every family gathering from now on is going to center on pregnancy and children and it just reminds me of what I don't have.

So I crossed the line from "maybe IVF" to "definitely IVF" last Thursday while we were shopping. It was no great surprise because my temps told me that my period was coming. But while we were walking around the mall, it really hit me - we're going forward with IVF. It felt so surreal to be starting the process that we'd been talking about for so long. Instead of "if we do IVF" we're now saying "when". It feels great to me moving forward.

I've called the IVF coordinating nurse to set up my IVF cycle. She made sure I'd completed recent bloodwork and had an HSG. They're going to call me next week to set up my trial transfer and injection instruction appointments. Then I'll start injections two weeks from today. I can't believe this is finally happening!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Eight Week Wait

Last night was our IVF consultation. They gave us a handout to read and a video to watch before the appointment. The video was a little cheesy, but I loved seeing the examples of ICSI and assisted hatching. Amazing stuff.

Our RE told us again that we're great candidates for IVF. He said he's almost sure that we'll be using ICSI and that they can't determine the need for AH until the embryos are developing. We learned that all four doctors at the clinic work together as a team, making it easier to get in and out of the clinic for appointments. Assuming our embryos are of good quality, they will only put two back and the chance of twins is ~20%. If the embryo quality is poor, they will talk to us about placing three back.

So if I get my period next week, I'll call the clinic to set up the initial round of appointments - bloodwork, physical, trial transfer, financing, etc. Three weeks later, I would start injections. The entire cycle takes about seven weeks. I have about a week left in this cycle and then a seven week treatment plan, making this a potential eight week wait.

Once again, the doctor was great. Even though I knew just about everything he said (thanks to all of the other Stirrup Queens out there!) he explained things clearly and concisely. He also made some jokes that relaxed B a lot. I appreciated that.

B continues to freak out about the idea of injections and anesthesia. When Dr. C said the nurses will teach him to inject me, I immediately asked if I could also learn. The thought of a nervous husband wielding a needle of drugs scares me! He laughed and said most women do their own shots until it come time for progesterone. It's easier for someone to assist with those.

I joked with my Mom the other day about how my desire to have a child has trumped my long-standing fear of needles. I told her that I remembered how, when I was little, they had to hold me down to get blood. She was amazed that I remembered this because I was barely two. I guess that a bad experience with needles is one of my earliest memories. B asked me how I could possibly not be going crazy at the though of daily injections, bloodwork several times a week, and being put under. Honestly, I don't care. I feel like the doctors can do whatever they want to me as long as we have a chance at success. I actually like the idea of having everything controlled by doctors. For some reason, when we watched that cheesy video, I felt like crying. The miracles of modern technology absolutely amaze me.

So for now I'm waiting this cycle out. I really hope that we get lucky, but if not...I'm ready for the next step.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Announcement(s) Complete

Last night two of the couples made their official pregnancy announcements. I had a few weeks to prepare myself for it, but it was very hard.

After my SIL and her husband made their announcement, the men started high-fiving him. "Good job!" "Taking care of business!" "You're the man!" I can't get the vision of the pain in B's eyes out of my head. I realize these are "typical male" comments, but it just reinforces B's feeling that he's not a "real" man. I have stated this before - I know that dealing with infertility has made us a stronger couple. There were many months before we told anyone and we had only each other to lean on for support. We could have turned against each other, buckling under the strain. Marriages end all the time for lesser reasons. But we turned to each other, grew stronger, and are now battling together. I've stated it before in this blog and I'll state it again - I firmly believe that dealing with MFI makes you a stronger man. I don't care that other men can get their wives pregnant easily. How many men could deal with the stress and pain that we deal with every day and still be a kind, caring, devoted husband? So you have a lot of well-formed sperm and they know how to swim. Do you know the exact right thing to say when your wife breaks down after another failed cycle? Do you know how to make her laugh when the only thing she wants to do is stay in bed all day? Are you man enough to share your feelings of pain and sadness? I wouldn't trade my marriage to B for a whole ocean of perfect sperm.

No one actually asked us when we were going to have kids last night, but I noticed many sidelong glances at my stomach. I received a lot of comments about how "thin" and "great" I look followed by comments on how happy they were for the two couples. Sometimes I think indirect comments are more painful than getting to the point.

But at least it's over. We have our IVF consult this Thursday and I'm holding on tightly to my last bit of hope for our final IUI. Our small chance for success with IUI is still greater than our chances alone. It was perfectly timed with over double the motile sperm of last month. And if it comes down to IVF, we'll deal with it. If we're ever lucky enough to have a child, he or she will surely benefit from the strength and love we developed as a result of our battle with IF, right?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Second IUI

Just a quick post before I start getting ready for the first night of Rosh Hashanah. Our second IUI was today and B had an amazing 3 million sperm with 13% motile. That might not sound amazing, but considering we had only 750,000 on day two of our last IUI, I'm really happy. We ended up with just over a million motile sperm this month. It's far from the 5 million minimum they like to see, but...I'm still hoping.

And I like my RE more each time I see him. He has a very quirky personality. Today he asked if I was able to schedule the IVF consult. I told him it will be next Thursday, and he said "Good. I hope that making that appointment will be enough luck to get you pregnant this month." Now, I hate the people who tell you "Just relax" or "Just adopt" to get pregnant. But somehow, I felt like he said the exact right thing.

L'shanah tovah!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

IUI #2

So, today was the first day of my second IUI. The count was about the same as last month - 3.8 million sperm, 17% motility. As my MIL said, "At least he's consistent!" I asked the doctor about only abstaining for 36 hours versus the suggested 48, and he said it would probably only have made a 10% difference. When I told this to B, he was relieved. Since the follicle hasn't collapsed yet, I go in tomorrow for another procedure.

He mentioned that we'll probably need to move on to IVF with these consistently low numbers and I asked him if I could schedule an appointment before I get my period. He thankfully replied with, "Of course!" So our consult appointment is next Thursday evening. They gave us a video to watch before we go and a pamphlet of information that revealed the cost - about $14,000 depending on how much our insurance will cover and how much medicine I'd need. As far as I know, they participate in the state grant that helps cover IVF - I'll definitely be asking about it when we go.

On a sad note, the clinic was absolutely swamped this morning. I witnessed a few heartwrenching events. A woman was waiting for a nurse to talk to her about her bloodwork and when she came out and went to the check-out area, her eyes were welling up with tears. I felt so bad for her. While I was in the exam room, another woman was screaming at the staff about not wanting to see them anymore, and she left and slammed the door. And while I was waiting to check out, there was another woman sobbing in the waiting area. The receptionist was trying to console her. I don't know what happened. Even without these occurrences, the clinic is kind of somber. They decorated it nicely and did everything they could to make it relaxing, but you still sit in a room of somber, worried women. I wish we could all be positive and hopeful, but this journey isn't easy.

Now we wait until next week to see where we go from here. I'm bouncing back and forth between happiness that we're moving forward and sadness that we need treatment. Tomorrow and Saturday are the days the three pregnant couples will be making their official announcement...I hope I can make it through. I keep having dreams about holding my baby and I really hope that this next step brings us closer to making the dream come true.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So much for Monday!

I got a positive OPK this afternoon. It was so clearly positive that I didn't have to squint and try to decide. I used a digital anyway and got the cute little smiley face. As an aside - I wish there was a line of OPK's without smiling babies on the box. We need some IF-safe supplies! At least HPT's are more neutral because not everyone wants a positive test result. But OPK's are pretty much for one purpose.

So the IUI is tomorrow at 9:00. This isn't ideal - we thought it would be Friday or Saturday and thus will only have abstained for 1.5 days. B is disappointed because he tried three new things to improve his count - vitamins, boxers, and cutting out artificial sweeteners. Now he feels he won't get as true a result tomorrow. Sigh. We'll see what happens.

On a positive note, I made major progress on my first sock. I've always heard that turning the heel (the part of making a sock that makes the cup part of the heel) was difficult, but it was a breeze. The next part, picking up the stitches to continue making the foot of the sock, threw me. It took me a good hour to figure it out, and in the end I just made it up and it worked. I was probably overly happy, but I felt so accomplished. And I'll take what happiness I can get!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Small update

I went in this afternoon for my baseline ultrasound. I have one follicle on the left side - this means my husband won our bet. I asked him what side he thought it would be on, and he was right! The doctor said he's 99% sure I'll ovulate either Friday or this weekend, but I start the dreaded OPK's this afternoon just in case. If I don't ovulate by Monday, he'll give me a trigger shot and I'll have the IUI that day and the next.

I asked him about the results of my bloodwork - everything is perfect. I also asked him how we start IVF if our numbers come back as low as they did for our last IUI - we had less than half a million motile sperm after our two inseminations. He said we would schedule an IVF consultation appointment that takes 30-45 minutes and go from there. I really hope that the office will let us make the appointment before I get my period so we don't have to waste any time. I realize that there's always a chance even with low numbers, but I also am pretty well acquainted with this funny thing called reality.

So that's that. I'm not freaked out by the process of IVF. I'll give myself shots. I don't care about being put out for retrieval. I'm fine with frequent bloodwork. Bring it on! I guess I'm more freaked out by the thought that it might work. I don't know how I will deal with success after trying so long. It's been a long time since I've imagined myself pregnant and I think it will be hard to transition from putting all of my energy into TTC to thinking about being a mother. I'm full of bitterness and anger and I don't expect that seeing two pink lines will be the magic wand that takes those feelings away. I'm a long way from needing to worry about this, but it's scary to think about how much IF has changed me and my perspective on the world.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dealing with it.

I emailed my SIL yesterday to express my happiness over their good news. I also thanked her for the sensitivity she demonstrated towards us...letting my MIL tell us privately helped so much. Not everyone thinks about how their news impacts those struggling with IF. I feel like she understands that our sadness has nothing to do with our happiness for them. She wrote me back to tell me that she has so much hope for us and a good feeling about the next few months...and that she's excited about the idea of us having kids close to the same age. I really appreciated her encouragement. I am so blessed to have such wonderful inlaws.

I think I've mentioned that I love to knit. I actually dye and sell yarn for a living. I've somehow never managed to make a pair of socks. I started a pair this weekend. My plan is to wear these socks if/when we make it to the IVF stage and I have my retrieval. Knitting is like meditation to's repetitive, calming, and something I can completely control. And did I mention that the name of the colorway is "Crazy Woman"? How appropriate. Maybe I should name one of my own colorways "Bitter Woman" or "Infertile Myrtle" or something along those lines.

We're hanging in there and taking things one day at a time. Our first ultrasound for IUI #2 is on Monday. We're either going moving one step closer to being pregnant or towards IVF...either way, I just want a baby already!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Shell Shocked

What a weekend this was.

I've suspected for some time that my oldest SIL is pregnant. There was the incident a month or so ago when we all got together for Chinese and the smell of the food made her sick. A few weeks later we got together again for a BBQ and she spent the last part of the evening on the couch, exhausted. And then when we met up last weekend and she said she couldn't have wine with dinner because she was taking antibiotics.

So when we went to see my MIL this weekend and she said, "I have something to tell you" I knew what was coming. And I was right. But there's more...not only is my SIL pregnant, two of DH's cousins are as well. They're all due in the first weeks of April. So all family events for the next seven months will include three happily pregnant women.

Honestly, this news made me feel like some kind of freak. This will be my SIL and one cousins first baby. It took almost no time for them to conceive. The other cousin already has three children and only has to think about wanting another baby to succeed. It's like I forgot that people actually have sex to get pregnant. I can't imagine a world like that - no temping, no OPK's, no checking cervical fluid...waiting all the way until your missed period before confirming with a HPT. Meanwhile, I have to do all of those things and get the added bonus of being propped up in stirrups for another month of IUI while working on plans for IVF. This news brought me back to the time when I assumed it would happen just as easily for me.

And the news really hit my husband hard. Knowing all of these men got their wives pregnant so quickly just makes him feel inadequate. I really felt like much of the progress we've made towards understanding that MFI does not mean you are less of a man just evaporated. I would argue that dealing with the issue actually makes you a stronger man. But last night we were talking and I said something like, "Where would I be without you?" and he said "You'd probably be on your second kid by now." That really made me sad for him. I've never once wished I was married to someone else. I know he knows that, but hearing him say that hurt.

On the way home that night, I felt numb. My head and heart were racing. It wasn't until the next morning that the tears came. They surprised me. I've tried so hard to fortify myself against these kinds of events and I didn't expect that my little fortress of protectiveness could just vanish. So I spent the day first feeling sad, then guilty for feeling sad (I really love the three women and their spouses, and I want to feel unfettered happiness for them) alone, scared, and bitter.

I'd like to say that I sincerely appreciate my MIL and SIL. They knew how much this would hurt, and did everything they could to lessen the blow. It was my MIL who told me, and I didn't have to face my SIL telling me the news. They plan on announcing their news when we all get together for Rosh Hashanah, and wanted to make sure we knew in advance and weren't bombarded at the party. My MIL also told us that if trying to qualify for the New York State grant for IVF was going to force us to delay treatment, to not worry about it - she will help us out. That was so kind of her to say. The love and support of our families helps, but this. Is. So. Hard.

So that leaves us as pretty much the only couple in our family who isn't pregnant or aren't already parents. And we've been married for over five years now. I'm going to have to come up with some answers for all of the people that are going to ask when we're going to be parents. I want to be honest, direct, and maybe even a little biting. I've smiled and stayed silent for too long.

Infertility really keeps on giving, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Moving On

I've learned from 21 cycles of charting that two days before my period starts I get a dramatic temp drop. That happened this morning, confirming my suspicion that our first IUI didn't work. Why should it have worked? We had less than a million motile sperm, giving us roughly a 1-5% chance. Still, I tried to cling to the belief that we might be in that lucky statistically improbable group. So, assuming tomorrow will be CD1, I will call the RE's office and set up the first appointment for IUI #2.

Which means, of course, that I move closer to IVF. Our doctor isn't optimistic about our chances with IUI, and I'm all about thinking ahead. The thought of IVF both thrills and terrifies me. I might have a chance...or I might end up in debt from a failed gamble.

This weekend I thought about a line from a poem I've always loved, T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." The line states, "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons" and when I thought of it, I reflected on the whole TTC mess. I feel like this whole TTC journey forces me to measure out my life in small two-week spoonfuls. There's the pre-ovulation phase, filled with OPK's and the anticipation of a new cycle. This last cycle introduced the wonders of vaginal ultrasounds and inseminations. Then there's the post-ovulation stage, where every twinge and pain means something significant and your morning temp gives you something to contemplate for the rest of the day. Then before you know it you're back in the first your life in small two week doses.

What I can't imagine is that this will ever end. Even if I am lucky enough to succeed through IUI or IVF, I can't imagine getting my previous self - optimistic, hopeful, cheerful - back. I don't want to measure out my life in miserly little doses. I want to measure it in gulps...better yet, not measure it at all. I'm just not sure how I will ever make that transition. And I'm tired of figuring out how it will happen.

Friday, August 25, 2006

IUI, Day 2

Today was our second IUI. As expected, our total count was a lot lower after two days of providing samples. We ended up with 700,000. The motility did go up to 18%. I wish that had happened yesterday! When I received the test tube, I thought for a split second that it said 7 million, but it was really .7 million.

Both the nurse and the RE told us to stay positive, which was nice but a lot easier said than done. I did have another ultrasound to make sure I ovulated, and I did. I asked what I should do next month - schedule another ultrasound on CD11-12 and start with the OPK's. Honestly, I feel like there's nothing but a series of appointments to get through before we will be allowed to proceed to IVF. Yes, I know there's a chance. (Thanks, Sis.) And I know it only takes one. (Thanks, Mom.) I realize why they want to try two cycles of IUI before moving on. I know there are people out there who have had luck with an even lower count. And I really am trying to stay positive. But here, on my little anonymous piece of cyberspace, I can say how much this hurts. The look on my husband's face when he saw the count broke my heart. He's the most amazing person and all I could ever want in a partner. When I see his face cloud over because of something he can't control, I feel like someone is wrenching my insides. And I really think it's a tribute to his inner strength and love for me that he comes home each night and tries to cheer me up.

Several people had their children with them in the waiting room. I never really thought I had an opinion on whether children should be "allowed" in an RE's office. I mean, these kids might well be success stories from the clinic. And sometimes you can't find a sitter. But there's something so painful about seeing these beautiful children laughing and playing in a room full of quiet women. It's the physical precense of what I want and haven't been able to have.I didn't see any bracelets today, but I did pay more attention to the people present. They were all so quiet, introspective, sad. The husbands dotting the room also looked grave. The doctors, nurses, and staff remain upbeat and smiling. They radiate optimism. It's such a contrast.

So, now we wait. My luteal phase averages 12 days so we'll know in less than two weeks. I've decided to keep temping, so I should have an idea around 10-11 days when my temp starts to drop. And I'm holding on to a tiny kernel of hope. I have this beautiful soft sage green yarn...I started making a baby hat last night. It might not happen this month, but it will happen. Do you hear that, infertility? Don't make yourself too comfortable. You're not going to win much longer.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

IUI, Day 1

I went in this morning for my IUI. I don't know how it is at other clinics, but at mine you have to pick up the washed sample at the andrology lab across the hall and bring it with you to the nurse. You have to show ID and sign for the sample, and they also triple check that all of the identifying numbers match. They want to make sure that you get the correct sample!

So this gave me the chance to look at the vial before the nurse came in. My heart sank when I saw our post wash count was 4 million, and sank even further when I saw the motility was only 6%. I thought our motility would go up from the 22% on the last SA. It turns out I didn't need to sneak a peek...when my doctor came in to do the insemination, he was very honest. He said that we should do IUI at least one more time, but if our numbers remain this low, we have to move on to IVF.

I appreciate his honesty, but I felt so bad for my husband. After the procedure (which wasn't much worse than a pap smear and took only a minute) they wanted me to stay on the table for ten minutes. We talked about what the doctor said and he expressed his sadness that "he can't have normal numbers and do this like a normal man." He told me how worried he'd be if I went through IVF. And even though this wasn't the most pleasant conversation we've ever had, I'm so glad that he is talking to me about this. When he got the results of his first SA, he couldn't talk to me for several hours. He has this "silent man" mode he retreats to when he's very upset. I'm glad that he felt like opening up without my needing to encourage him.

After the procedure, the doctor checked my follicle with the ultrasound machine and said it hasn't dropped yet. We're going back tomorrow for another IUI. I'm trying so hard to stay positive throughout all of this, but I feel like I've been kicked in my stomach. I just want to curl up and cry. I was so hopeful that our numbers would have gone up, that our SA was just a fluke. I guess we'll see what the numbers are tomorrow. My husband is going to tell the people at work what's going on because he keeps saying he's going with his wife to the doctor and they're getting worried. And if we have to go through IVF, he'll need to go with me even more. I used to be so concerned about keeping our infertility private, but now I don't care who knows. My bracelet seems too subtle - maybe I need a flashing neon sign? Speaking of bracelets, I didn't spot any today at the RE's office.

I've been a fan of Ani DiFranco ( since college. Today one of her songs popped into my mind. These are some of the lyrics from her song "Swandive":

i've got a lack of inhibition
i've got a loss of perspective
i've had a little bit to drinkand it's making me think
that i can jump ship and swim
that the ocean will hold me
that there's got to be more
than this boat i'm in
'cuz they can call me crazy if i fail
all the chance that i need
is one-in-a-million
and they can call me brilliant
if i succeed
gravity is nothing to me, moving at the speed of sound
i'm just going to get my feet wet
until i drown
That's what I'm holding onto today. The what feels like a one-in-a-million chance we've been given.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Looks like it'll be tomorrow!

I really don't like OPK's. The instructions say it's positive when the test line is as dark as the control line. I always feel like it's almost exactly as dark, but not quite. I was thrilled to find digital tests at the drugstore. I've been using other (cheaper) tests and today I had a test line that was nice and dark. It looked 99.9% as dark as the control line. So I used the digital and it agreed!

It looks like tomorrow will be our first IUI. DH will drop off his sample on the way to work and we'll go to the RE's office later in the morning for the procedure. Fingers and toes and everything else are crossed!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ultrasound Results

Today I went in for my first ultrasound for this IUI cycle. My RE performed the procedure and went out of his way to explain everything he was measuring and what I was seeing on the screen. I really appreciated that. So many doctors just breeze through a procedure without explaining anything. So I got to see my uterus, which has a lining of appropriate thickness. I saw a big follicle on my right ovary and nothing on my left. The RE thinks the follicle will be ready in a few days. I get to do two OPK tests a day until I get a positive and then we go in for the IUI. Have I mentioned how much I hate OPK's? I feel like I never know for sure if they're positive or almost positive. I was surprised to see that they now have digital tests. It's been months since I've bothered with them. I bought one box of the digital and one box of the regular.

Oh, I looked at the wrists of all the people waiting for their appointment. It's a big and busy center. I didn't see anyone with the pomegranate string.

As with most things relating to infertility, this ultrasound generated conflicting emotions. I feel happiness because we're doing something this cycle. That's a lot better than just going through the motions of another month. It's only been a few months since we learned we are dealing with MFI and have very little chance of a successful natural cycle. I also feel a lot of doubt. I know the stats on success rates using IUI with MFI. They aren't pretty. Larger than we have on our own, but so much smaller than the tantalizing success rates offered with IVF. And finally, I feel fear. I could get pregnant this cycle, right? For the last 16+ months, I've poured everything into TTC. Pregnancy feels like an elusive dream world that I know about but can't visit. Let's assume that this cycle fails and we do one more before moving on to IVF. My sister called to tell me, "You could be pregnant by the end of the year!" That's amazingly difficult for me to think about. On one level, I know that pregnancy is the destination of this journey. It's just that this journey has been long enough to make me forget about the destination...I've been so devoted to surviving the journey that I've overlooked the fact that there is a destination out there.

On a funny note, while I was waiting for the ultrasound, I saw a magazine on the wall that said something about "Fresh, frozen, or canned?" You know you know too much about TTC with ART when you think, "I didn't know they had canned embryos now!" I'm so used to seeing people talk about fresh and frozen IVF cycles that I just didn't think they were talking about something as simple as fruits and veggies!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Some Positive Thoughts

I realize that the name of this blog, "Bitter Ground" isn't the most uplifting title. I am very bitter and hurt. I created this blog to get rid of some of my negative thoughts and connect with others who know how I feel. Plus, I'm a struggling coffee addict and this title reflects my relationship with the sacred brown liquid. :)

Today, I want to focus on some of the good things in my life. These are random and not in order of importance.

1. My husband. He's my best friend and the person I completely rely on for support during this battle with IF. He makes me laugh almost every day and reminds me how lucky I am to have so much love in my life.

2. My MIL. Yes, I have a fantastic relationship with her! My Mom and Dad give me a lot of support, but it's hard because we live in New York and they're in California. My MIL is truly my second mother. She does sweet things like offer to go with me to my RE appointments when DH can't make it - just to give me support. She sends me emails to let me know how positive she feels about everything. I feel so lucky to not have the stereotypical relationship with her!

3. Salads from my favorite little place around here. Walnuts, gorgonzola, and I need to say more?Oh, they know my order before I get to the counter and also have delicious iced tea!

4. My sister and SIL. My sister managed to use grace and tact to share her pregnancy with me. She let me ask her how she was doing, and that helped. And she calls and emails me often to offer support. As for my SIL, she knows what we're going through but we don't really talk about it. We were at a party together and someone brought up how easy it is to get pregnant. She simply said, "We should think about the people who have problems getting pregnant" and managed to switch the direction of the conversation. I can't tell you how much I appreciated that.

I think that's good for now. I feel much better.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pomegranate Warrior

I bought my beautiful #814 embroidery thread on Friday night. I had a moment of panic when I saw the empty space on the display, but then found some hiding under the other colors. Then...we had to go to Buy Buy Baby. My husband's best friend's wife just gave birth to their third child and we had to attend the bris the next morning. My husband, to his credit, suggested I stay home from the store. I felt touched that he would consider how going could be hard for me, but since I felt buoyed by finding #814, I agreed to go.

Big mistake. At first I felt okay. But when I saw all of the cute little baby clothes, my resolve started to crack. It hurt to see my husband exclaiming over various toys because it made me think for the zillionth time what a good dad he'll be. And I felt like, at any moment, they were going to announce, "Infertiles in aisle three! Infertiles in aisle three!" I know I'm super-sensitive right now, but it seemed like so many people looked at us, observed our lack of children, and then looked at my stomach before looking away. I felt the attraction of all the baby stuff and the feeling that I was some kind of mutant all at the same time.

The next day was the bris. We were told in advance that they wanted DH to be the sandek, the "Jewish Godfather" of the little one. When I saw him participating in this sacred ritual, it just made my heart ache. When will we get the chance to be parents? Thankfully, no one asked us directly why we don't have kids yet. There were some people who hinted by asking, "How long have you been married?" while looking at the baby. But we got through it.

After all the baby stuff this weekend, I felt deflated. All of the optimism I felt regarding our upcoming IUI vanished. So what did I do? I thought about how many "rock bottoms" I'd reached on this journey with infertility and reflected on how I'd always managed to go on. I started to think about all of the good things in my life right now. I looked at the thread on my wrist and thought about how it binds me to others who are feeling the exact same things.

And then I went out and bought a bottle of pomegranate juice. I wanted the fresh fruit, but they aren't available right now. I'm trying to lose a little more weight right now, so I couldn't drink a lot. But I poured myself a shot of the beautiful red juice and toasted all of the people out there who know what I'm going through and are struggling through it, too. And I'm going to keep toasting. It's my new healing ritual.

When I was in college, my suitemates told me about "praying mantis warriors". They said that a female praying mantis often bites the head off the male when they're done mating. She's got what she needs, so off with his head! The term praying mantis warrior referred to a woman who was strong enough to stand up for herself no matter what and would speak out when she was unhappy in a relationship. We all decided to try and live up to the title. Today, I'm declaring myself a Pomegranate Warrior. I'm battling infertility with the help of all the other people out there fighting the same fight. Sometimes it gets me down, but I always manage to keep slogging through. Who's with me?

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Plan

We met with the RE last night. I was jittery all day. I have this almost inherent distrust of doctors. I don't know where this comes from, but I always feel that I'm not going to be taken seriously. I knew he wasn't going to say "It's only been 16 months - let's wait another year!" but I was still apprehensive.

The doctor was a little younger than I thought he'd be after seeing his picture online. He was extremely polite and explained every term in a way that was informative but not condescending. He was also very honest, telling us that my husband's test results border on severe but aren't quite there. He wants him to repeat the test at least once more, probably twice. We were told that if they continue to come back like this one, there's not a lot that can be done to increase the count since we've ruled out varicoceles and other blood-flow issues.

Our current plan is to try an IUI this cycle. This will apparently give us a 20% chance, about what we would get if we had no issues. I like that he said we could try it for 2 or 3 months depending on how fast we want to proceed. Plus, IUI is covered by our insurance! It would be wonderful to skip the whole money draining black hole of IVF. Speaking of IVF, he said that we are excellent candidates for it if it comes down to that because of our age and health. It also helps that my tests (so far) have all come back normal.

I get to have repeat CD3 bloodwork on Monday. I'm scheduled for an ultrasound a week from Monday and at that point we'll talk about setting up the date for the IUI. They sometimes do them two consecutive days, so we'll see if they think that's best for us.

Right now, I'm battling two conflicting emotions, something that I've become an expert at since entering this struggle with infertility. On one hand, I feel elated that we're moving forward and doing something. I despise the whole "wait a year and call us" attitude we take towards people dealing with IF. I love the idea that we're going to have the same odds as a "regular" couple for this next cycle. On the other hand, I'm impatient. I don't like the idea of waiting another 2-3 months to try and get pregnant. I understand that it's the best way to go, but I've had my fill of waiting.

I'm going to focus on making this a positive experience. I plan on getting back to the gym, trying meditation, and eating healthy food. I'm not sure how much of a connection exists between mind and body, but I'm going to do everything I can to make this upbeat. Fingers crossed!